Who doesn’t love Modernist architecture? Earlier this month I wrote about Cyprien Gaillard’s meditations on this font of relevancy, looking back on a time when it was believed that, in Dominic A. Pacyga’s words, “good planning, big government, and modern architecture could solve the problems of [a] city”. Immediately historical, hubristic, and utopian, these structures are a visual shorthand for lessons learned.
Minna H. Happalainen is a Norwegian artist whose photography-based paintings and drawings took a compositional turn with Notes on Architecture, carving her subjects into what looked like layered five-by-sevens, or abstracting corners or fades in separate works. The graphite drawings had plenty of penciled handworking, with vibrating shadows and sharp contrasts, and were satisfying on the eye. In extraneous but minimal sculptural gestures, three pedestals held up abstract drawings sandwiched between concrete and glass; and, beside a framed drawing, a tiny staircase crawled into a corner.
Lappalainen’s work was a welcome surprise as I crawled through Oslo’s galleries – most of which were closed or ghosts. While conceptually familiar, the interaction between architecture, photography, and drawing brought enough form and craft to keep me impressed.